The four main actors were friends for years before they began making the show. They were brought together through Hugo Chegwin; he had known Steve Stamp since childhood, became friends with Asim Chaudhry at college, and met Allan Mustafa through a mutual friend. They all had experience DJing or MCing on pirate radio in their youth, and no ambition to be actors. Mustafa said, “I rapped at the time, but we never really ended up making music. We just watched The Office a lot and smoked weed.” In the late 2000s, Chegwin and Stamp had a “fake garage crew” on a real station called KuruptFM. Chegwin and Mustafa began creating characters and filming them, and were further inspired when they watched the BBC documentary series Tower Block Dreams, about London’s underground music scene, and found the participants amusing. MC Grindah was based on a pirate radio boss from the series. Stamp and Chaudhry became involved, and the foursome began improvising material and putting it on YouTube under the name “Wasteman TV”.
The YouTube videos were seen by producer Joe Petrie, who worked with Ash Atalla – a former producer for The Office – at Roughcut TV. Petrie later explained, “It wasn’t fully-formed, but the more you watched it, the more you could see there was proper detail to the characters. I had no idea about garage, really, but I just loved them as comic creations.” Atalla arranged to produce a pilot episode for BBC Three, released in August 2012. The pilot was the most shared video on iPlayer that month, and the BBC ordered a full series.